August 11, 2012

We Went To Canada! Cool, Eh?

So, late Sunday afternoon we decided to check the customs rules for entering Canada. The funny thing was that we were heading into Canada the following day. Come to find out, our BB gun was probably not allowed, neither was our somewhat large stash of liquor we'd been dragging around for the last 10 years (no seriously..I don't know why we don't just throw this stuff away, or just have a party, we could be the cool kids on the block!), and fresh potatoes and certain other fruits and vegetables were questionable. And because we still couldn't bring ourselves to trash the liquor, and didn't want to part with the gun, we decided to ask the nice folks at the RV park to hold it for us, packaged up in a nice box of course. Surprisingly, they agreed. With the perishables we just made a huge pot of mashed taters and stir fried a random mix of the veggies. Phew! One crisis averted.

Late Sunday evening, no I mean really late, Lindsay's plane finally came in. Lindsay is a very old friend of mine from school, and two weeks ago she finally bit the bullet and bought a ticket to come see us. Lindsay has poor luck with planes and was first stuck on her plane for three hours, then un-boarded, then re-boarded, and after another hour of waiting on the runway, her plane finally made its way from Connecticut to Seattle. Monday we packed everything up, stuffed all three of us and the pups in the truck, and drove to the Canadian border.

Lindsay crossing into Canada for her first time!
We were surprisingly met with a long line of folks who also had the same idea that day, so Lindsay and I left Sky idling in the long line of cars and ran off to explore the International Peace Arch. Right at the border crossing there are two huge flags, American and Canadian obviously, that are made out of flower beds. We ran around taking goofy pictures and yelling things with "Eh!" until Sky had progressed far enough for us to jump back in the car. There we sat for the next two minutes rehearsing exactly what we were going to say to the border patrol to ensure that we wouldn't get stopped and searched (not that we had anything to hide anyways, that was all safely packed away back at the RV park). The two times that Sky and I had visited Canada before we'd driven a small rental car, with barely any luggage, and got searched three of the four times we crossed the border. We figured if we were going to get searched at any time, while pulling a trailer across the border was probably it. BUT, surprisingly we got through in less than 30 seconds. Must have been the winning smile on Lindsay's part. :o)

International Peace Arch at the border crossing,
and the long line of folks waiting to get into Canada
The drive into Vancouver from Seattle is surprisingly short, just over two and a half hours. We got to Vancouver with no problems, parked the trailer in an RV park east of downtown, and then headed into town to explore. Lindsay was up for stretching her legs so we found a map of the city and started out in Chinatown (it was the only place we could find with free street parking, yes we're cheap). Chinatown was a bit skeezy, so we left quickly and walked over to the historic Gastown district where we quickly found a great street cafe and bar and sat ourselves down for a drink. Six Acres, the bar that we found, turned out to be a great place. Their menus were bound with recycled bindings from classical books, and the decor was very whimsical. Lindsay ordered a local brew and Sky and I split a Gorgonzola hot pot with croutons (yes, it was as good as it sounds, and better).

Walking around Chinatown
The cute menus at Six Acres
Our very good Gorgonzola hot pot.
From Gastown we strolled by the Steam Clock and into downtown. Vancouver's downtown is very impressive in the huge amount of glass skyscrapers it has. While it seems that most city downtowns have skyscrapers, I would say that generally you get a good mix of different architectural styles in the buildings, like stone facades, glass and metal work. Vancouver's downtown was mainly built out of glass, so you get a futuristic effect, but the sameness starts to be a bit boring after a while. I would liken Vancouver's city feel to living in a clean super modern condo; something very nice, chic and new, but missing that homey feeling and the broken in couch.

Gastown Steam Clock
We took a quick swing by Robson St. Known as Vancouver's runway, Robson St. is a long stretch of high end stores and restaurants. We finished off the night by getting some dinner and more drinks in Yaletown, another neighborhood of Vancouver. We figured it was only appropriate to eat at the Yaletown brewery.

Robson St.
At the Yaletown Brewery
The following morning we woke up bright and early (around 10) and headed back into town. Lindsay rented a cruiser bike for the day, we brought ours from home, and we all set out to bike the Seawall bike path around the perimeter of Vancouver's downtown. We biked straight to Granville Island, another neighborhood just south of downtown. There we picked up an eclectic lunch from the food stands in the Public Market and then went out on the outside patio to eat and watch the yachts sail by through the Burrard Inlet.

The Public Market at Granville Island
Lindsay's treat from the market
Views from the Granville Market of the Burrard Inlet
After lunch we continued our treck on the Seawall, following it around False Creek to Sunset Beach. When we got to Stanley Park, we were momentarily confused, but quickly figured out that bike traffic only went one way around the park's peninsula (counter clock-wise in case you're wondering). During the full 20 miles or so of biking we were rewarded with epic views of Vancouver's skyline. Since we were basically circling the city, it seemed we got to see it from every angle, and from every angle it was quite picturesque. I probably thoroughly frustrated Lindsay with the five million and one pictures I stopped our ride for.

The view from the Granville Bridge
The south view of the skyline
The west view of the skyline
Biking around Stanley Park
Biking around the Stanley Park peninsula
Lindsay and Skyler joined in on some beach volleyball on the West End beach after Lindsay dropped off her bike, and we met quite a mix of folks from all over the world. When we were done with all the sports for the day we were famished. We stopped by a Canadian Superstore on our way home (its always best to shop hungry, isn't it?), and bought up the store in terms of vegetables, dips and sausages. We also stopped by the liquor store and got several four packs of drinks. Alcohol is SOOO expensive in Canada, stock up in America, oh wait...We ended the night by playing round after round of UNO. I think its safe to say I am the UNO Champion!

Volleyball in the West End district
Drinks with friends
Eclectic appetizers before our huge dinner
To see more Vancouver pictures, click here.

Happy Vancouver exploring with friends,


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